sábado, 19 de setembro de 2015

Cardinal Ratzinger has also mobilized the users of the 1962 Missal, for he needs them: only the old Missal can lend credibility to the post-conciliar liturgical reform. The Cardinal has explained this many times.


Fr. Patrick de La Rocque
Translated from Nouvelles de Chrétienté, No. 71, Jan. 2002
The rumors and whispers have started. From inconspicuous meetings to mainstream publications, at first quietly and then openly, the idea has been peacefully making its way. And while it is now in the public domain, it remains at the level of a gentle murmur, since it emanates from an ecclesiastical circle that is too restrained to be taken as representative. But, after all, there are gentle murmurs which, after the thunder and lightening, bear messages from God. Is this the case in the matter that concerns us? This is the crucial question we must address.
The page-one headline of La Croix (Dec. 28, 2001) announced, "Cardinal Ratzinger Desires a Liturgical Reform!" As sensational as this title may appear, one must not let oneself be carried away. Both the eminence of the personage and the importance of his post should be somewhat discounted, for it is not as Prefect of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith–from which he is in the process of retiring because of his age–but rather unofficially that Cardinal Ratzinger has mounted to the battlements. Moreover, the idea of a "reform of the liturgical reform" does not date from today.
It remains nonetheless true that the year 2001 was especially propitious for this project, as was shown by two events. The first was the publication in German, and then in French, of a key book by Cardinal Ratzinger, The Spirit of the Liturgy.1 This work which, according to its author, is the "fruit of 50 years' reflection,"2 clearly states its object:
If this book were to encourage, in a new way, something like a "liturgical movement," a movement toward the liturgy and toward the right way of celebrating the liturgy, inwardly and outwardly, then the intention that inspired its writing would be richly fulfilled (pp. 8, 9).
It is a plan round which it was necessary to rally some men. This was done with the meeting that took place at Fontgombault from July 22-24, 2001: some 30 bishops, abbots, and representatives from the Ecclesia Dei communities gathered there around the Cardinal. Though at first it was kept quiet, with the publication of its Acts it has gone public. The Cardinal's liturgical crusade has been definitively launched. It is incumbent upon us to analyze it and take a position, for on such an important matter indifference is not allowed.
A first reading of Cardinal Ratzinger's work is not without pleasant surprises. Incontestably, no cardinal has yet uttered such reassessments. The entire lexicon of liturgical gestures is patiently analyzed and eruditely explained, and, what is more, forcefully defended against many of the liturgical innovators who infest Church offices. From liturgical ornaments to the importance of silence during the Canon, from the denunciation of a false notion of the active participation of the faithful to the condemnation of the excessive freedom the 1970 Missal allows the celebrant in the liturgical action, few things are spared. Each time the language is energetic, the resolutions practical. One can judge from this representative passage:
It well may be that kneeling is alien to modern culture insofar as it is a culture, for this culture has turned away from the faith and no longer knows the One before whom kneeling is the right, indeed the intrinsically necessary gesture. The man who learns to believe learns also to kneel, and a faith or a liturgy no longer familiar with kneeling would be sick at the core. Where it has been lost, kneeling must be rediscovered.4
Cardinal Ratzinger proposes a veritable reordering of external comportment in the rite, which, by having been made man-centered, lost its sacred dimension. This reorientation must be taken literally, because the Cardinal equally denounces the liturgical nonsense effacing the people:
...Today celebration versus populum really does look like the characteristic fruit of Vatican II's liturgical renewal. In fact it is the most conspicuous consequence of a reordering that not only signifies a new external arrangement of the places dedicated to the liturgy, but also brings with it a new idea of the essence of the liturgy–the liturgy as a communal meal.... [A] common turning to the east during the Eucharistic Prayer remains essential. This is not a case of something accidental, but of what is essential. Looking at the priest has no importance. What matters is looking together at the Lord. It is not now a question of dialogue but of common worship....5
All of this is obviously quite encouraging. And if one takes into consideration the importance the Cardinal attaches to the celebration of the Mass according to the traditional rite, then the optimists will undoubtedly be enthused by what they will consider as the great return to Tradition. For even in this, certain of the Cardinal's words seem pleasantly surprising:
It is necessary to stop the ban of the liturgy that was in force until 1970. Currently, anyone who defends the validity of that liturgy or who practices it is treated like a leper: all tolerance ceases. The like has never been seen before in the Church's entire history. By adopting this attitude towards them, they despise the Church's entire past.6
Nevertheless, as we have said, we must not let ourselves be carried away. Objectivity, indispensable to action, forbids a superficial reading of Cardinal Ratzinger's declarations. It is necessary to get to the heart of his program in order to understand its exact orientation. A second reading will allow us to grasp the logic of a cardinal who, despite his affirmations in favor of the Mass of all time, nevertheless just a year ago firmly opposed its official recognition by the Pope.
The sacred is restored by means of liturgical gestures, true. That must be the case, given the transcendental nature of the central action to which the ritual attitudes are to unite us. But in fact, we must ask what is the central action which is at the heart of the Mass. The answer seems so evident to you that asking the question here may seem insolent. And I would not dare do so, if this point did not constitute the stumbling block which obliges us to denounce Cardinal Ratzinger's project: it is a profoundly modern vision of the sacrifice of the altar that is proposed to us in the first 40 pages of the work. Of a theological density worthy of its author, the doctrinal thrust of this first part might be missed upon a hasty reading. Yet it is in these pages that the essence of the liturgy is defined; the rest of the book only concerns its esthetic aspect. For all those who opposed the liturgical reform of 1969 for doctrinal reasons, it is by this first part of the work that it is necessary to judge Cardinal Ratzinger's endeavor.
A short sentence will provide us a lead:
...the destruction of his earthly body [on the Cross] will be at the same time the end of the Temple. With his Resurrection the new Temple will begin....[Interpreted at its deepest level] the prophecy of the Resurrection is also a prophecy of the Eucharist.7
According to Cardinal Ratzinger, it is the Resurrection–and not the sacrifice of the Cross–that inaugurated the new temple, the Eucharistic sacrifice. That says it all: Cardinal Ratzinger's Mass is no longer principally the renewal of the sacrifice of the Cross so that its fruits may be applied; it is firstly celebration and communion with the risen Christ, that is to say, an anticipation of heaven.
The real "action" in the liturgy in which we are all supposed to participate is the action of God himself....God himself acts and does what is essential. He inaugurates the new creation [understand: heaven], makes himself accessible to us, so that, through the things of earth, through our gifts, we can communicate with him in a personal way.8
In this liturgy, then,
the real target is the Maiestas Domini, the Lord risen and exalted, but who is at the same time and above all the One who is to return, who comes to us even now in the Eucharist. By celebrating the liturgy, the Church goes forth to meet him; the liturgy is simply this act by which she goes forth to meet the One who comes. In the liturgy, the Lord anticipates his promised coming: the liturgy is an anticipated parousia, it is the entrance of the already into our not yet.9
You understand: the immense gap that separates Cardinal Ratzinger from Catholic Tradition is precisely this new "theology of the Paschal mystery" which he has made his own. He celebrates a glorious Christ when the Church requires us to unite ourselves to Christ as Victim. He proposes a sacrifice of praise where Christ instituted a sacrifice of propitiation "for our sins committed every day."10 This radical change of perspective has evidently called for a quite new conception of sacrifice, which we cannot make our own, inapt as it is to take into account the affirmations of the Council of Trent.11
The different arguments used to justify the different reforms previously mentioned clearly show that the new theology of the Paschal mystery is at the heart of the Cardinal's program. Let us take an example: if the common orientation [of both priest and people–Ed.] towards the east is important during the Canon, the Cardinal tells us, it is because the liturgy is supposed to turn us towards the glorious Christ, towards Him who is the "rising sun of history,"12because the "people of God, on the march towards the Orient [read: "towards the Resurrection"–Ed.] turn together towards the Christ who goes out to meet us." Thus the altar, once its place has been rediscovered,
is an entry into the liturgy of heaven....The altar signifies the entry of him who is the Orient into the assembled community and the going out of the community from the prison of this world....13
Let us analyze these assertions: the importance and the classical explanation of the "orientation" of the Mass is very well presented by Cardinal Ratzinger. But this aspect takes a central place, perhaps too central, in order to arrive at the affirmation so dear to the Cardinal: "the entry of him who is the Orient into the assembled community and the going out of the community from the prison of this world." The presence of Christ in the Mass is only considered as a glorious presence, and no longer as the presence of Christ in the state of Victim; to the assembled community it is given to "go out from the prison of this world," that is to say, to anticipate heaven, and no longer firstly to benefit from the propitiatory fruits of the Mass, an obligatory passage for anyone who wants to go to heaven....We can see that it is indeed the new "theology of the Paschal mystery" that serves as the basis for each one of the liturgical rectifications proposed.
The apse and transept of Our Lady of Fontgombault, France,
the abbey founded in 1091 by the Benedictines.

The completely new, modern conception of the Mass which is at the root of the liturgical reform of 1969 is exactly what Cardinal Ratzinger intends to save and exalt by his plan of reform of the liturgical reform. As Don H. Courau excellently wrote in prefacing the Acts of the Fontgombault liturgical colloquium, the ambition of the new liturgical movement is to "stabilize the accessory elements of the liturgical reform."15 And this is in order to save the very substance of the said reform. Cardinal Ratzinger remains convinced of the intrinsic goodness of the new Missal, which is, in fact, in a fair way to disappear. In order to save the essential, he must revise the form because it is no longer serving its purpose. It is necessary, then, to reform Paul VI's Missal, to give a new look to this oldster of 30 years in order to try to inject new life. This is what the Cardinal confirmed in concluding the Fontgombault colloquium:
The reform of the reform naturally refers to the reformed Missal, not to the previous Missal.... We must be against chaos, against the fragmentation of the liturgy, and, to this end, we must be for unity in the observance of Paul VI's Missal. That seems to me to be a top priority: how to return to a common reformed rite.16
In this salvage operation of a reformed Missal that is in a fair way to disappear, Cardinal Ratzinger has also mobilized the users of the 1962 Missal, for he needs them: only the old Missal can lend credibility to the post-conciliar liturgical reform. The Cardinal has explained this many times. According to him, the ban on the immemorial Missal inflicted immense harm on the liturgical reform, which revealed its radical novelty in opposition to the Church's Tradition.
Undoubtedly the new Missal constituted an amelioration, an enrichment on many points; but by having opposed it as a new fabrication to the historical development incorporated in the old, and by having banned the latter [Tridentine Missal], thereby making the liturgy no longer a living organism but rather the product of erudite studies and juridical competence, we have inflicted enormous damage on our cause.17
Saving the modern Mass requires that this negative image be destroyed. That is why they will attempt to make it seem, with the help of a rediscovered continuity, that Paul VI's reform is situated in a direct line with previous liturgical reforms. And who can better give this assurance than the users of the Tridentine Missal; hence the need in Cardinal Ratzinger's program, for a certain recognition of this Missal.
From the start, I was in favor of the freedom to continue to use the old Missal, for a very simple reason: people were already beginning to speak of a rupture with the pre-conciliar Church, and the formation of different models of churches: an "outmoded" pre-conciliar Church, and a new, conciliar Church....It seems to me fundamental and essential to recognize that the two Missals are both Missals of the Church, and that the Church still remains the same. And to underscore that there is no essential rupture, that the continuity and the identity of the Church exist, it seems to me indispensable to retain the possibility of celebrating according to the former missal as a sign of the permanent identity of the Church.18
The argument is simple: I recognize the Mass of St. Pius V, Cardinal Ratzinger seems to say, so that it can accredit the liturgical reform. This is the ploy to which, unbeknownst to themselves, the Ecclesia Dei communities have lent themselves. After renouncing the doctrinal combat for the defense of the Mass of all time, they henceforth hasten to the aid of the endangered Mass of Paul VI.
At the beginning of the year 2001, everything was going well in the best of worlds for Cardinal Ratzinger's projects: the publication of his book in Germany had caused a great stir, the Fontgombault meeting was being prepared, and it even seemed that soon it would be possible to co-opt the Society of Saint Pius X, unbeknownst to them, in salvaging the modern Mass. Weren't they engaged in negotiations with the Holy See? Would not their recognition by those who celebrate the reformed Mass also be interpreted as the abolition of an Oedipus complex, or, in other words, as a maturing of Paul VI's reformed Mass?
Yes, indeed, the year 2001 was off to a good start for the "reform of the liturgical reform"...until that day in February when the Society of Saint Pius X handed to Rome the little work calledThe Problem of the Liturgical Reform: the Society once again publicly denounced the blatant rupture existing between the two missals! In a single stroke the projects of Cardinal Ratzinger were ruined. His wrath was equal to his initial hopes: The negotiations with the Society were suspended, and the meeting at Fontgombault was utilized to save what could be saved of the project. At the colloquium, Cardinal Ratzinger made a scarcely veiled apologia of his positions against our attacks. So doing, he accepted publicly engaging in the properly doctrinal debate raised by Paul VI's liturgical reform. For the first time in 30 years, this debate, which had for so long been sought by Archbishop Lefebvre, seemed to be shaping up. It is a date to remember.
Things could not remain there. After the Acts of the colloquium were published, Bishop Fellay, Superior General of the Society of Saint Pius X, wrote to Cardinal Ratzinger in order to try to continue the debate. To this end, he sent him a note acknowledging awareness of the Cardinal's lecture at Fontgombault, and some theological considerations regarding this conference.

1. Joseph Cardinal Ratzinger, The Spirit of the Liturgy, ad solem 2001. [The original title in German is Einfuhrung in den Geist der Liturgie. Citations in this article are from the English version published by Ignatius Press.]
2. Cardinal Ratzinger, interview in La Croix, Dec. 28, 2001.
3Autour de la question liturgique avec le Cardinal Ratzinger (Our Lady of Fontgombault Abbey, 2001).
4The Spirit of the Liturgy, p. 194.
5Ibid., pp. 77, 81.
6. Joseph Cardinal Ratzinger, Voir quel est notre Dieu (Plon, 2001), p. 291.
7The Spirit of the Liturgy, p. 43.
8Ibid., p. 173.
9. Joseph Cardinal Ratzinger, Un Chant nouveau pour le Seigneur (Desclee Mame, 1995), p. 172.
10. Council of Trent, Dz. 1740.
11. Cf. on this topic the article, "Considerations on Cardinal Ratzinger's Fontgombault Conference" on pp. 17-20 of this issue (The Angelus, April 2002).
12Spirit of the Liturgy, p. 84.
13Ibid., p. 70.
14. Cf. The Society of Saint Pius X, The Problem of the Liturgical Reform, Part Two (Kansas City, MO: Angelus Press, 2001).
15. Don H. Courau, "Presentation" in Autour de la question liturgique, p. 3.
16Autour de la question liturgique, p. 180.
17. Joseph Cardinal Ratzinger, Ma vie, mes souvenirs (Fayard, 1998), p. 134.
18. Cardinal Ratzinger, "Bilan et perspectives," in Autour de la question liturgique, pp. 177-178.
19 Cardinal Ratzinger, "Theologie de la liturgie," in Autour de la question liturgique, pp. 13-29.

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